Hello!

My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 7 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Get your Scooby Snacks ready ... It's a #ScoobyDooSleepover!


Over the past year or two, Munch, Beastie and Plumlet have all become great lovers of Scooby Doo and his friends, the Mystery Inc. Gang. The fact that this lovable great dane and his pals have been making families smile for almost 50 years is nothing short of incredible, and he is still a hugely popular character when it comes to Halloween.


This year, all three kids are very aware of Halloween now that Plumlet is a little older, and they have all been getting quite excited as they admire the decorations appearing around the local neighbourhood and recognise their favourite television programmes are taking a spooky turn with their episodes. 

So, when we were asked if we would like to participate in our very own Scooby Doo themed Halloween Sleep Over at home, all three were delighted at the thought and were more than happy to welcome the friendly hound into their home once again!


To celebrate the release of Scooby's new DVD; Haunted Hollywood, we have enjoyed a Scooby themed movie afternoon, filled with laughter and gasps a plenty as we joined the gang on their latest mystery solving missions!

This is the very first of Scooby's films to incorporate the Lego brand which the children have loved with the girls being such huge Lego fans. In this latest offering, we see Scooby and Shaggy complaining that the rest of the team are always using them as Monster Bait in all of their missions, using the consistently successful bribe of Scooby Snacks. Therefore, the clumsy duo vow never to eat the snacks again in a plight to avoid being such easy targets in the future. However, will their plan work ...? 

You'll have to watch the movie yourself to find out!

It is now available to purchase on DVD, and I don't think you will be disappointed with the most recent instalment. The kids were engrossed, with cushions to hide behind at the ready ... just in case!


Plumlet has a new cuddly friend who accompanied him on our Halloween Sleepover, courtesy of Character Toys UK. He's soft, he's cuddly and he's the perfect companion for a sleep over. Especially as he doesn't hog all the popcorn!!


To help Munch get well into the Scooby style Halloween spirit, she was treated to a special head-to-toe surprise courtesy of Rubies Fancy Dress ...


This head-to-toe costume is wonderful. A soft textured onesie, complete with hand and feet coverings, a tail and an attached headpiece, you couldn't fail to recognise this lovable, iconic character! All of a sudden, Trick or Treating will be slightly different this year, and there will be one less witch on our local streets ... and an extra playful pooch collecting sweet scooby snacks!


So, in addition to our annual trip around the local neighbourhood, admiring the Halloween decorations and the weird and wonderful costumes that are roaming the streets, we were able to treat ourselves to a cosy family movie night for Halloween, accompanied by three excitable Scooby lovers, some yummy scooby snacks, an activity filled Scooby magazine an awesome Scooby movie and one big, life size cuddly Scooby Doo!!


What do you have planned for Halloween?
Will Scooby join you for some fun too?

We were sent the goodies you see in this post to enjoy for Halloween. No other payment was received and all words are our own.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Showing our #FrubesMoves with Angry Birds


You've heard of Frubes, right?
Frubes are the clever little tubes and pouches from Yoplait that, together, make up the largest portable yogurt brand around. Perfect for lunchboxes, an on the go snack or an after dinner treat, they are tasty and versatile and packed full of that essential bone builder, Vitamin D.


Frubes are a huge favourite in this house, and with all three children loving them so much, we can go through quite a few boxes! So, when we were invited to take part in the #FrubesMoves challenge with Britmums, I knew it would be a wonderful fun opportunity for the kids to join. So, we stocked up on Frubes, ready to get our groove on!

Available in a variety of delicious flavours, and now in pouches as well as the original tubes, it has never been so easy to ensure that your child is taking in enough calcium and Vitamin D through their diet. Whilst they are little, this is extremely important, as they are unable to naturally make calcium, so including the correct amount of it in their diet is vital. Vitamin D assists by helping the body absorb calcium, so together, they are an essential winning team, making Frubes perfect in every way!


You will notice that the Angry Birds have managed to get their feathery faces printed on these promotional boxes, as in conjunction with the recent release of their family hit The Angry Birds Movie, Frubes have been offering families the opportunity to win a holiday to the Bahamas. This competition also includes a weekly draw with prizes of fun Angry Birds merchandise. You'll need to hurry though, as this promotion only runs until 31st October, 2016.


Now, onto the Moves part. Anyone that knows my children will know that they struggle to sit still for very long, and they absolutely love to dance! Munch has recently started asking for us to look into various out of school classes, and one class in particular that she would like to try is dancing. She has no preference for the style of said dancing; ballet, tap, street, contemporary ... as long as she is moving to music, she's happy! In September, she started Dance Club at school which she attends once a week after school. This hasn't replaced her desire to join an external class ... it has, in fact, made her want it even more!


And as for Beastie and Plumlet, well, they are happy to dance whether there is music playing or not! Whenever I turn the music on at home, whatever the children are doing gets dropped immediately, and they are up, competing for the attention of me and The Man, as well as that of each other, with cries of "Look at me!" and Watch this!" We'll then be treated to demonstrations of jumping, spinning, wacky arm movements and copious amounts of bum wiggling! I have to admit, it's a sight I'll never tire of! 


So, I thought, for the sake of our #FrubesMoves Challenge, I would treat the world to a snippet of my little groovers. After visiting angrybirds.frubes.co.uk and choosing to fully support the Angry Birds against the mischievous pigs in their dance-off, the kids decided they would dance their socks off (literally!) to help send those piggies on their way with their tails between their legs!! Boasting a bit of ballet, a sprinkling of street, a cup full of contemporary and a whole lot of their own style, they all wanted to join in to cheer on the Angry Birds and to give those pesky Pigs a run for their money!

This is how it's done, Piggies ...!


As you can see, dancing makes them extremely happy!


As does eating yogurt!

Originally, I had explained to Munch that the #FrubesMoves Challenge was one that we were going to work on together, just the two of us. The Smalls were fine with this ... but as soon as they got wind of the fact that the challenge involved eating yogurt and dancing in support of the Angry Birds, there was no way of holding them back! They insisted on getting involved too. And I thought, seeing as Yoplait's Frubes are ideal for the whole family, why not let them share the fun with each other!

Hopefully, the Angry Birds will appreciate the little extra support!!

Frubes are available from all leading supermarkets with an RRP of £2.00, which I think is a small price to pay to be sure you're taking such good care of their growing bones. And my three are going to need to keep Frubes as part of their diet to maintain dance moves like this!!

So, who will you support ...?
The courageous Angry Birds or the sneaky Pigs?


This post is an entry for Britmums' #FrubesMoves Linky Challenge, sponsored by Frubes https://angrybirds.frubes.co.uk 

For the love of Nursery Rhymes: ChuChu TV


If your children are anything like mine, they'll love a bit of screen time. They each have access to electronic devices and are free to use them whenever they want (within reason!) Because of the freedom we allow them to have when it comes to the use of technology, we find that they have discovered their own sense of moderation and, we believe, they have a healthy balance in their lives when it comes to the leisure activities that they choose.

I think, for the purpose of this post, I will focus on Beastie and Plumlet and their activity and viewing choices. When it comes to wind down time at the end of the day, when they are all ready for bed but not quite ready to retreat to their bedrooms, they will often enjoy sitting together on the sofa, each with their own devices, and engaging in a calm, gentle activity. Beastie and Plumlet often end up cuddled up together, sharing a device, as one will undoubtedly choose to turn to YouTube and select nursery rhymes and popular children's songs. I think this is a lovely choice for pre-bedtime fun. They usually end up singing along whilst they watch the brightly coloured animations on screen.

This is when we discovered ChuChu TV. A while ago, Beastie kept making Plumlet laugh with some unfamiliar songs that she kept singing to him. I have to admit, they were songs I'd never heard either, or were familiar melodies with alternative lyrics. When I asked her where she'd heard the song before, she immediately picked up her tablet and navigated her way to a channel called ChuChu TV. The screen was instantly filled with numerous colourful thumbnails, all of a similar format, and each with many many views!


The channel is full of children's songs and rhymes.
Some familiar ...


... Some new ...


... But all fun, engaging and extremely well animated. One of the great things about ChuChu TV is that there are songs suitable for every occasion, songs that fit every mood. There are songs ideal for calm, wind down time and there are songs for when the children wish to get up and join in with lively actions. In addition to the widely known and loved nursery rhymes, ChuChu TV also create original content and invent their own versions of the familiar content. Everything they do is to ensure the engagement and the enjoyment of children.

Teaching rhythm, melody, coordination, numbers and the alphabet amongst many other skills, ChuChu TV has become quite a favourite in  this house. 

They don't stop at nursery rhymes either. The team have also worked to put together a series of Surprise Egg Toy videos, a fun 3D collection for pre-schoolers and young children, encouraging the recognition of colours, numbers and letters of the alphabet.
The creators of ChuChu TV are a team based in India with a whole host of talent amongst them. Creative artists, educators and marketers to name a few, all working together to build material that children will love and which will assist their academic and physical development. And with over 6 million subscribers from all over the world, a figure which continues to grow daily, it is quite clear that more and more children and their families are discovering the joy of ChuChu TV and recognising its benefits.

A collection of over 90 videos to enjoy, children can find favourites such as Chubby Cheeks, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Head Shoulders Knees & Toes and Wheels on the Bus.

So, if you haven't discovered ChuChu TV on YouTube yet, take a look. I can guarantee your child will find something that they love, and there's bound to be favourites that they'll want to replay over and over again!

ChuChuTV can be found via YouTube, and also across social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram where you can keep up to date with their news and updates.


This is a collaborative post. Thoughts and opinions are my own and the post has been written by me alone.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

A peek into the world of the Instapets with Bratz

It's #Selfie Time!



"The Bratz believe in thinking for themselves, creating the things they dream of, and making every day an absolute adventure".

The world of Bratz is one that has often intrigued Munch, but one that she has never delved into ... until now. 

When she was sent a doll from the new Instapets range to review, she was so excited! Recently, she started to follow them on YouTube and the TV adverts have caught her attention more than usual, so to get her own doll and have the opportunity to explore the features of the product as well as look into the messages each of the Bratz carries for young girls made her very happy!


This is Jade. She is one of five dolls. Her besties are Yasmine, Cloe, Sasha and Raya. Each doll has her own style, her own distinguishing features and her own unique personality. The range that we are looking at here, as mentioned before, is the Instapets range. Each doll comes with her own Spirit Pet, as well as the accessories needed to create a twinning style!


The Bratz girls are known for taking their fashion inspiration from everywhere – including their insta-famous InstaPets. This collection is all about showing off your adorable pet by snapping Insta-worthy cute pics and posting it on social media for the world to see! Whether you are donning cute animal ears, a fluffy tail or bouncy antennae, the Bratz want to encourage you to join in their craze and officially make it a thing!


Jade comes with her adorable pet cat, whom Munch lovingly named, and according to Munch, they should never ever be separated!


As soon as Jade was removed from the box, Munch started adorning her with her accessories, and at that point, she was completely fixed! She actually hasn't stopped brushing her hair since she got her. The accessories included with Jade and her pet are:

A colour coordinated hairbrush
Cat shaped earrings
a hairband with cat ears
Sunglasses (with whiskers)
A mobile phone (for those essential #selfie moments!)
A phone case/holder in a cute cat design

In addition to this, Jade comes dressed in a cute outfit that matches her furry companion perfectly.


With a sassy style and a look that will be, undoubtedly, admired by little girls everywhere, the Bratz dolls with their Spirit Pets are set to take social media by storm with their selfie skills as they attempt to get their own unique hashtags trending!

For this review, Munch wanted to have a go at recording her own video, telling you all about Jade and her pet. Her doll had only been out of the box for around twenty minutes when this was recorded, but I suppose she's the best person to extract first impressions from here ...



I don't know about you, but I think she makes a promising little vlogger!

Munch has relentlessly brushed Jade's hair, undressed her, re-dressed her, equipped her with accessories and relieved her of accessories. And not to mention spent quite a lot of time doing this ...


... Munch does love a selfie!

From a practical point of view, the dolls are very well made, with movable arms and legs, a head that turns and can move from standing to sitting positions easily. What more could Munch want?! Apart from the other four dolls now to complete her collection ...! They are lovely dolls and have added a whole new angle to her role playing and another excuse for her to use and perfect her American accent

The Bratz Instapets range are sure to be on the top of many Christmas lists this year. They have just made Munch's list a little longer!

We were sent a Jade doll from the Bratz Instapets range for the purpose of this review. No other payment was received and all words are our own.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Celebrating Halloween with Bing Bunny!


As Halloween approaches, pumpkins are being carved, the spooky costumes and face paints are being dusted down and the buckets of treats are being filled for all the disguised doorstep visitors. However, this year, we have an extra activity to enjoy!

The DVD release of a new selection of Bing episodes!


I cannot begin to tell you how excited Plumlet gets at the very mention of Bing Bunny! Since the very first episode aired in 2014, it has been his most favourite show on CBeebies, and it has since formed an important part of our weekday morning routine! We will take the girls to school, and the first thing he says on our return home is "It's Bing time, mummy!" He'll watch his morning episode, giggling at the antics of Bing, Flop and their friends (usually accompanied by a line up of his cuddly Bing character toys) before going on with his day.


Described by its creators as 'Reality TV for Pre-schoolers', this much loved show celebrates the whirlwind of emotion found in the life of a three year old! The highs, the lows, the laughter, the tears, the excitement,the tantrums ... which can all be experienced within a short, ten minute time frame whilst doing something as simple as building a brick tower or understanding the word 'No'! With Flop, his guardian, always by his side to help him through each dilemma-filled day, pre-schoolers and parents alike can relate to the events in each show as Bing Bunny learns valuable life lessons in a gentle, non-preachy way. Praised for its supportive, positive and non-judgemental approach, the award winning show, now affectionately known as 'microdramas' amongst Team Bing, brings the truth and authenticity of the life of a pre-school youngster to life in a fun, engaging and gentle way!  

So, when we were asked if we would like to create our own little Bing themed Halloween party at home, the idea was met with nothing but approval! The kids love the idea of Halloween, but celebrating the occasion at home and experiencing the excitement beyond the front door are two very different things. The children are all still very young, and the thought of roaming the streets in the dark and having close encounters with elaborately painted witches and werewolves covered head-to-toe in synthetic fur can, in reality, be rather daunting. Whilst the girls do like to venture out, early evening, for a spot of trick or treating within our neighbouring streets, it doesn't normally last too long, and a little party at home appealed to them immensely!


 With a party box full of goodies, we were well and truly ready for a special kind of Halloween!

As well as a copy of Bing's new DVD which was released this week, we have been treated to all sorts to make Halloween more fun than frightening!

There was no trickery involved with this treat!

Carrot cake is most certainly a favourite here, especially with Plumlet. And with some strategically placed themed cake toppers, it is instantly transformed into the perfect Halloween treat! Skeletons, witches, spiders and black cats are suddenly scrumptious rather than scary! 


And placing a couple of novelty straws into a glass of chilled carrot juice is how every Bingster should be celebrating Halloween! According to Beastie and Plumlet, this carrot juice was made by Bing Bunny himself using the infamously hungry Brenda Blender! And two straws means ...


... It's perfect for sharing!

Halloween just wouldn't be complete without some creepy crafting! And these little polystyrene pumpkins got the kids very excited!


All three kids have decorated their own little pumpkin in preparation for the end of the month and have decided  that they will be displayed with their real pumpkin!

They've even given  them names ...

Plumlet's Pump, Munch's Spook and Beastie's Rollo
All this fun whilst Bing's new DVD plays in the background kept the kids happy for quite some time! Show ... and other episodes is the latest in a long line of DVDs that have been released starring Bing, Flop and their quirky friends. Featuring eight episodes of fun, including a few of Plumlet's many favourites, this includes the familiar shows 'Show', 'Not Yours', 'Mine', 'Lunch', 'Woof!', 'Eggy Head', 'Toy Party' and 'Mobile Phone'. 


At this rate, the disc could well be worn out by Halloween! However, our fiendish fun won't be stopping here. We'll be using our pumpkin carving tools to create a very special illuminated pumpkin closer to Halloween itself, and watch  this space to see how we use the other goodies from our Bing Box!


We were sent a selection of Halloween treats and a copy of Bing's new DVD in return for writing this post. All words are our own, and no other payment was offered or received.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Baking is best After Eight ...

#AfterEightBakes


When I was a child, After Eights were always considered to be special. They were chocolates that would come out at Christmas, and the box was never big enough! Sneaking 'just one more', silently from its iconic paper sleeve when no one was looking, after being told you'd had more than enough, is a memory I hold dear! 

Conventionally intended as an after dinner mint, After Eights have been considered a luxury since the early 1960s, and are enjoyed today just as much as they were then.

So, when I was asked if I wanted to try baking with Nestle After Eights, I couldn't respond quick enough! I had actually never come across any recipes featuring the luxury brand as the priority ingredient, so I was both excited and intrigued! 


I decided that the After Eight Cheesecake sounded just too good to pass by, so this is what I decided we would make. With my ingredients at the ready, and my recipe card to hand, I started my bake with a sense of nervousness that I'd mess it up in an epic fashion and end up having to present the family with some catastrophic, unrecognisable monstrosity instead of the Mary Berry worthy image I had in my head!  


I'd like to admit now, that I have never before in my life made a cheesecake. And here I was, about to make one for the world to see ... what's the worst that could possibly happen?

I gathered my equipment which included:

A 23cm Cake Tin
A couple of mixing bowls
Kitchen Scales
A couple of wooden spoons
A large dose of strong will power to stop me from munching the After Eights before they met the rest of the ingredients!

The ingredients for this epic recipe are:

120g digestive biscuits
300g pack of After Eight®
50g unsalted butter plus 5g for greasing
700g light cream cheese
150g caster sugar
200ml reduced fat soured cream
3tbsp plain flour
4 free range eggs lightly beaten
2tsp vanilla extract

Grease your cake tin ...

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C
2. Grease and line the base of a 23cm cake tin with unsalted butter
3. Crush the biscuits
4. Melt the unsalted butter and add the biscuit crumbs.
5. Stir to combine then place the mixture into the base of the cake tin and spread  in an even layer.
6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden, then remove until cool.

Bake your biscuit crumbs (Instruction #6)

For the filling:

7. Beat together the light cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
8. Add the reduced fat sour cream and flour and beat again.
9. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla essence, beating well between each addition.
10. Pour the cream cheese mix onto the cooled biscuit base.

Add cream cheese mixture to your biscuit base (Instruction #10)

11. Place After Eight® onto your cheesecake mix and bake in the oven for an hour

Decorate with After Eight (Instruction #11)
.
12. Once the cheesecake is cooked, leave it to cool in the oven - this prevents it from cracking.
13. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before removing it from the tin.

When decorating your cheesecake with After Eight, I don't believe there is any wrong or right way of doing it. I chose to arrange mine as shown above as I felt it would allow the chocolates to melt nicely into the cream cheese mixture, creating a pretty marble effect. 

Then, all that there is left to do is make yourself a cuppa, pour yourself a glass of something chilled (whatever your tipple may be) and ...


... tuck in!!!

More recipes can be found via the After Eight Facebook Page.
What will you create?

We were sent ingredients and a recipe card for the purpose of writing this post. All thought are our own and no additional payment was offered or received for our participation.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Taking the Flora Lunchbox Challenge

Happy yet healthy lunches with Flora!


Sometimes, making packed lunches both healthy and appealing to the children can be a challenge. We take the children shopping with us so that they can choose the bits that go inside their lunchbox, but this isn't always a success due to the fact that we won't let them fill their boxes with biscuits and chocolate!

 Beastie isn't so much of a problem as she would quite happily fill her lunch bag with salad and fruit, but still, trying to teach her that although these foods are extremely good for her, she needs to consider a balanced diet and that her lunch needs to contain a variety of foods in order for it to be deemed healthy.

Munch is a whole different ball game! She is immensely fussy with her food. She turns her nose up at most vegetables, will only eat a very few varieties of fruit, and lives by the theory that if she has never tried it ... she won't like it! So, making lunches for her can be quite a struggle.

Plumlet is a bit of a 'picker' with his lunches. He likes lots of variety, but rarely eats anything in its entirety. 

Therefore, when we were invited to take part in Flora's Lunchbox Challenge with Britmums, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show the kids how their lunchbox should look and that their choices don't have to be boring or restricted, as well as a great chance to give me some inspiration, because when it comes to preparing lunches, my ideas fall a little flat and I feel extremely underwhelmed at the thought of trying to please both girls enough to ensure that they are actually going to eat what I have prepared. We were tasked with using Flora's Lunchbox Builder to guide us through and to help us as parents to ensure that we are providing our little people with a wholesome yet appealing lunch.


With only 1.6% of children receiving a lunch which satisfies the nutritional standards set for school meals (according to a Flora study), I like to think that I am feeding my children the recommended variety of foods. We sat down together and created a huge number of combinations of their 'ideal lunches'. This made our next shopping trip much easier!


The lunchbox builder has allowed us to include a great deal of variety whilst ensuring that each essential food group is covered. Whist the girls were at school, Plumlet and I created his ideal lunch, and this is what we included ...


We started with homemade egg mayonnaise inside a wholemeal soft roll, using a thin spread of their favourite - Flora Buttery. Egg mayo is a firm favourite in this house, so when I made up a big bowl of it to keep in the fridge, all 3 kids were delighted! And of course, we made it with low fat mayonnaise!

Bananas seem to be the 'go to' fruit of choice with all three of the children. They are really versatile as well as a great source of energy. When I was a child, one of my most favourite desserts that my own mum used to serve was mashed banana covered in milk, so there are many ways in which bananas can be eaten. So when asked which fruit he would like in his special lunchbox, bananas was his first choice! A new love for Plumlet is blueberries (thanks to Beastie!) He will happily eat them by the handful, so we included a small pot of them too. 


As mentioned before, Plumlet is very much a 'picker' when it comes to his meals, so instead of adding cucumber or tomatoes to his sandwiches, he much prefers to have a small side salad so he can pick at it during his lunch. His salad contains cucumber, tomato, red peppers (which is a vegetable he is not 100% with yet, but using the art of regular exposure, I am trying to encourage him to accept it into his diet!) and sweetcorn. He loves the different colours this salad brings to his lunch, so making it as varied as possible is always key.

Finally, another favourite is breadsticks. He loves them on their own, although I did keep catching him sticking them inside his roll to cover the end in egg mayo! Pack it all in his new special Flora lunch box, and he's a happy boy!

The Flora Lunchbox Builder is broken down into four different meals:

The T-Rex Lunch Box; The lunch for monster appetites
The Florasaurus Lunch Box; The Mighty Herbivore meal
The Velociraptor Lunch Box; The Beast of a Lunch
The Stegosaurus Lunch Box; The Epic Sized Lunch

According to the guide, Plumlet has a little bit of each of these lunches! However, we have been sure to choose a main, a snack and a suitable amount of fruit and veg to pack our lunch full of goodness!

And I can safely say, he demolished every bit of his lunch! The lunchbox builder is now attached to the front of our fridge and I will be using it every time I pack a lunch for any one of the children! At least I know that I will be able to please each of them whilst knowing that they are consuming a filling, healthy meal!

More lunchbox ideas can be found at www.flora.com

What's in your lunchbox today? Can you set yourself your own #FloraLunchBoxChallenge ...?


This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here <http://www.flora.com/article/category/1104207/healthy-kids